A Healthier You

Pursuing a Healthier and Happier Lifestyle

The+best+path+one+can+take

The best path one can take

In the hot summer the beach banks are heaven. Beautiful sand, clear and blue water, young and beautiful people, all comfortable in their own skin. And who wouldn’t like to feel self-confident? Feeling good about your personal appearance makes you feel free. And while we all should be able to appreciate our bodies and feel that freedom that comes along with self-confidence, sometimes those things come along a little easier with a regular workout routine and healthy diet. Summer is the perfect season to get in shape, stay healthy, and rock that self-confidence.

Staying in shape seems to be a nationwide struggle. According to research from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, more than 60 percent of America’s population is either overweight or obese. Along with this obesity epidemic, Americans are struggling with spending their money wisely—and it seems the two are related. An article written by Maurie Backman for “The Motley Fool,” a finance news website, talks about Americans throwing away their money each year on gym memberships. “According to the International Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), more than 12% of gym members join in January, compared to just 8.3% a month during the rest of the year,” wrote Backman. “But the IHRSA also reports that gyms typically expect only 18% of members to use them consistently, which means most of us who join are really just throwing our money away.” How messed up is that? It is easier to go to a park where you can do the same workouts at a lower or no cost at all, and summer’s gorgeous weather will help give you the motivation to get out there.

A healthy lifestyle starts with motivation and keeps going with perseverance. Cristina Panagopoulos, a certified personal trainer, breaks down how people should work out based on the type of results they want to get. For those who want to get lean muscle, or get toned, she recommends to watch carbohydrate and sugar consumption and to increase strength training because the more muscle you have, the more fat you will burn. For those who want to get buff, Panagopoulos suggests heavy lifting as long as it is controlled with good form to avoid injuries. “When lifting, clients should perform 8-12 reps for hypertrophy, training to induce the fastest muscle growth possible,” Panagopoulos said. 

Of course, people will not get their desired figure by just working out. “Nutrition and fitness go hand in hand, you can’t out work a bad diet,” said Panagopoulos, who provided some tips for eating better: First, take out all processed foods. Only buy items that have less than 10 ingredients and that you can pronounce all the ingredients listed. Second, try to incorporate vegetables into your meals as much as possible. She says veggies are one of the best things you can eat since they add volume to your plate, but not to your waistline. And third, lean proteins should be paired with at least 2 cups of veggies. Complex carbs are another one of her big recommendations. Eating foods such as brown rice, sweet potatoes, and Ezekiel bread is good during morning hours and around your workout. Including healthy fats to all your meals including avocado, olive oil, nuts, or peanut butter is very beneficial to your health as well.

“Health is wealth. If you don’t take care of yourself now, you’ll be paying for it later,” said Panagopoulos. “I always remind myself that the reason why I train is because being healthy internally is the most important thing you could do for your body and for your loved ones. Take care of yourself.”

So why wait till tomorrow to do what you can do today and start being healthy? Be the best version of yourself and even then, keep on improving.